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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 18:01 GMT
Sir David Ramsbotham, chief inspector of prisons, took your questions

The chief inspector of prisons for England and Wales has described conditions at Birmingham's Winson Green jail as some of the worst seen.

As a former soldier, Sir David Ramsbotham is unrelenting in his assault on what he considers unacceptable standards in jails. The main areas of concern are: poor standards of health care; little time out of cell or little purposeful activity; and too many inmates complaining they feel unsafe.

Sir David has only a few months left in the post, but is perturbed at what he sees as a failure in line management. Too often, he believes, serious problems are allowed to develop because area managers, and above them, prison service headquarters chiefs, have lost their grip.

How can the prison system be improved? Should all jails be privatised?

Sir David joined us for a live Forum. Click on the link below to watch it.

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15 Mar 01 | UK
Jail 'among worst in UK'
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